Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

These boots are made for …? August 22, 2008

Filed under: Fashionista Files,Now Looky Here — rebmas03 @ 1:58 am
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I’m not sure why I love shoes so much. Maybe it’s because I can’t make them. I can make my clothes, but I cannot make shoes. So they fascinate me.

It all started innocently enough when I was checking out the Chloe site’s Fall ’08 collection. Every model was wearing these forest-green, peep-toed, wrap-up, super-high boots—with pants, skirts, dresses—and they all looked fabulous. I had to have them. But if you know anything about Chloe boots, unless you luck upon them at Century 21, they are a pretty penny indeed. And if they are in season, they won’t be at Century 21.

I reasoned that certainly such a gorgeous boot as this would be all over e-bay. You know, someone gets a hold of them somehow (we won’t say how, let’s just leave it at “falling off the truck…”), and the next thing you know, it’s for sale on e-bay. I don’t know why I would have such an unrealistic expectation. It’s not like I’d had this experience over and over again, especially with a current item featured on a designer’s web site.

But I was born with this peculiar sort of ESP. I have a positively eerie radar for sales and hard-to-find bargains. This is not the case for me with lottery tickets, ailing friends or tragic incidents—only clothing and accessories. I went on over there to e-bay and wouldn’t you know that there was one pair sitting right there in my size at 60% off. I know that you are gasping in disbelief, but it was true. The problem was that the seller had no history. None. This was the only item that she had ever sold. Oh, the agony. Should I take the risk? I mean, this had to be destiny. I wrote to the seller, and she sent back a very sane note that she was a fashion stylist and these had been purchased for a music video shoot. It all seemed so reasonable and perfect. I bit the bullet, made the bid, and three hours after midnight, they were mine. Our fate together was sealed.

The boots actually arrived, much to my surprise, and I suddenly realized that I was the owner of a bargain pair of very expensive, tall, green elf-boots. The heel has got to be at least 5 inches. And while they fit, what will I wear them with? They require a gazelle to be carried off with any sort of dignity, and it’s definitely not office gear. The outfit below shows the boots in black, and it’s fairly reasonable attire. But in reality, that leather wrap is insanely challenging to tie up the leg, unless you have a stylist dressing you. Throw in the green, and suddenly, as shown on the site, purple tights are de riguer. I’m going to put my best effort into it, and if worst comes to worst, I’ll have a pair of really cool boots that I can pull out of the closet and gaze at passionately once in a while. I still love them, even if I’ll never wear them. I mean, look at them. How could you not love them. I’m going to go pick them up from the Russian shoe guy right now.

By the way, I’m told that there is a class for making shoes at the MAKE Workshop, so maybe that will be my next step, no pun intended. Or the shoe design sequence at FIT. You just may find me there with my cobbler tools.


My Voodoo Love Affair with My Spice Cabinet August 21, 2008

Filed under: Food is Good — rebmas03 @ 2:32 am
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By Ann Walton Sieber (Your Mandala Chef!)

Recipes below:
Annita’s Pepitas (spicy pumpkin seeds)
Homemade chili powder
Spicy cinnamon coffee

When Carlos Casteneda meets the mystic and teacher Don Juan, one of his first assignments is to intuitively pick where to sit in an empty room, the master explaining to the perpetually befuddled Casteneda that you must develop your intuitive powers in order to develop as a magician.

The same is true of us magician chefs. We taste a dish, our intuitive powers ask, “Hmmm, what’s it need. Hmmm. Cinnamon.” “Cinnamon?! In chili?,” the rational mind may reply. “Yeah, and maybe some raisins too.” You go with it and it is sublime.

I love my spice cabinet
Your spice cabinet is your best intuition training tool. I love my spice cabinet. It is a series of shallow shelves, painted bright China red. I bought it at a garage sale in the early ’90s. The bottles holding the spices do not match (I’m not a matching kind of girl). They all have lovely handmade labels with curlicues and swirls. I refill them when they get low with bulk herbs I buy from Whole Foods or the India grocery store or the Middle Eastern market, pouring them into the bottles with a little red funnel, one of those periodic kitchen maintenance rituals. It’s like brushing your hair—it needs doing, but it’s enjoyable. (Unlike many other dutiful maintenance rituals I can think of.)

I suggest having your spices out where you can see them. I’m still surprised at how many of my top cooking friends have their spices in bottles and baggies in a box stuck in the cupboard, where they have to tediously sort and poke to find what they want. I’m somebody who likes to see the useful items in my life—if something is hidden away, I’m likely to neglect it, deem it too much trouble, forget about it for years.

My mother alphabetized her spices—that’s one way. I group mine by affinity. The Mexican spices (cumin, coriander), segue into the Indian spices (cardamom, turmeric), the Italian (dill, basil). It is not entirely methodical, but instead organized by what feels right. Don’t know where paprika would fall, but it’s reddish and complex, so I put it up by the Indian spices.

Here’s what I have in my spice rack: paprika, tumeric, garam Masala, curry, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cumin (ground & seed), coriander (ground & seed), fennel (ground & whole), anise, cardamom (in pods, shelled, and ground), red pepper flakes (get these free from pizza delivery packets), cayenne, cinnamon (ground & sticks), cloves (ground & whole), mustard (ground & yellow & black seeds), basil, dill, rosemary, Italian seasoning, marjoram, whole dill seed, caraway seeds, onion powder, bay leaves, sage, thyme, oregano, lemon pepper, white pepper (ground & peppercorns), celery seed, garlic powder, homemade chili powder, pepper (ground & peppercorns), asafetida, Mrs. Dash, fenugreek, cream of tartar.

I mostly use all of these. Then have some even more obscure ones tucked away just in case some fool recipe comes up with something from left field (and I came upon a spice sale one day and stocked up).

Salt & Pepper
I love salt and pepper–I really get how they’ve been dubbed the king & queen of American spices. There used to be a diner in the blue-collar town of Lee, Massachusetts, that only served soup and was called The Salt & Pepper. I thought that was the greatest name.

I didn’t grow up loving salt, and I had a slightly snobby scorn for those who salted their food with gusto. But then I started using sea salt and everything changed. I started to crave salt in my food in what felt like a good craving, a what-my-body-really-needs-to-be-healthy craving. (How do you tell the difference between a hale-and-hearty craving and demon garden-path, addictive, running-from-your-emotions craving? Intuition, bien sur!) Now I love salt, and add it often, and it all seems to the good. (And my blood pressure is still on the low side, as before.) If you want some info on the difference between typical table salt and sea salt, here’s a link (Salt: What You Don’t Know Can Harm You – and What You Should Do Instead).

About pepper, I used to grind up a batch of peppercorns in my coffee grinder (more on this, anon), and then keep it handy for the next months. (I guess it’s better to have it absolutely fresh ground, but I couldn’t tell the difference enough to bother.) But recently, my gourmet good-cooking friend Hannah introduced me to coarse ground pepper. You buy it in a large bottle at your local grocery (regular grocery, not high end), and it’s more coarsely ground than what will come out of your pepper mill. You have to like biting into a big wake-me-up chunk of pepper, but it so happens, I do.

I keep my salt and pepper on the ledge right above my stove in little open dishes—beautiful creamy porcelain—so it’s easy to pinch a little here & there. For me, a big part of aiding intuition is having everything easy and appealing.

(Your sanitary practices may bristle at the open dish method, but that’s another one of those cooking judgment calls—are you a cook who tastes a dish with a spoon and rinses it off? Or do you keep tasting with the same cook-germy spoon? In my circles, cook’s germs are in a different category than mere eating mortal germs. Do you observe the three-second rule—if it drops on the floor for under three seconds, it’s okay to use—or do you disdain it for the rationalization it is? But it’s your call, of course.)

Your coffee grinder & why chili cinnamon cappachino may not be such a bad thing

Grinding spices fresh is a great way to really make them sing. Peppercorns, cinnamon, coriander seeds (yum!), cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom, etc. You can have a designated spice grinder, sure (and actually, I’m in the market for one). But don’t be scared to use your coffee grinder. I wipe it out first, but not real carefully. (You may be getting the gist of how I cook here.) A little coffee flavor with the pepper may be a good thing. And then, after I’ve ground up my spices and I’m ready to grind coffee again, I rarely clean it out. I’m curious about how different spices may taste in the coffee.

That’s how I discovered my current “I can’t wait to go to bed, so I can wake up and have it” coffee.
I was making a fresh batch of chili powder and left some in the coffee grinder. Of course. When I put my coffee beans in the next morning, my little chef magician voice said, “Ooh, this is fun, let’s add a cinnamon stick.” I did, and oh my god. It tasted like chocolate. Sure it’s weird. But not yick weird—it’s yum weird. Try it and let me know what you think. I’ve drunk nothing else the past three weeks.

(By the way, cinnamon is the secret tip to making dreadful coffee kinda good. When I was a freshman in college, when we wanted an extra special meal, we’d save up our paltry student cash and go to this little French restaurant. We all told each other how especially wonderful the coffee was. One time I asked them what kind of coffee they used, expecting to be let in on some elite coffee roaster insider tip. “Folgers,” the French waiter replied indifferently. “Folgers with some cinnamon sprinkled on top.”

So ever since then, when I’m in some dreadful houseguest situation where all that’s available is the Folgers, I just give a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon into the coffee grounds before I start the Mr. Coffee dripping.)

Pepitas and chili powder

Pepitas and chili powder


Annita’s Spicy Pepitas

Pour some olive oil in the bottom of a pan (heavy bottom, if you have it) over a medium flame. Let it heat up a little, then pour in some raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and stir to coat. You be the judge on the amounts, but it’s okay to have the pepitas a half-inch or so deep in the pan, and they should be a little oily, but not swimming.

Now, go to your spice cabinet and do a little chef voodoo. What calls out to you? What’s your spice today? Gather a bunch of jars—for me, it’s usually 7 or 8. Here’s what I put in yesterday’s pepitas: cumin, coriander, pepper, chili, paprika, ground mustard, turmeric, salt, maybe a few more. They were yummy. I wasn’t in the mood for sweet, but I often add ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, anise, fennel, maybe curry, maybe even garam masala (which is a blend of spices itself).

Just sprinkle and dump the spices on top of the pepitas; don’t worry about measuring. Stir them in so they are evenly distributed over the oil-coated seeds. When the seeds start turning different colors, taste them & see if they’re done. Be careful not to forget you’re cooking and let them burn! (I hate having to pick the burned ones out.) If they are not quite done, you can take them off the flame and they’ll keep cooking a little in the pan, but you won’t have to worry about burning them.

Put them in clear jars on your shelf because they’re pretty that way. Use them on top of soups (especially Ann’s breakfast puree soups—cauliflower dill, zuccini-fennel, squash-ginger—upcoming in a future Mandala Chef blog!), salads, in omelets, just for munching. I gave a little jar to my new NIA teacher for her birthday and she nearly swooned.

Your very own chili powder
This is easy to do (if you can find the chilis), and is so worth it, to have freshly ground, complex pungent chili powder.

Buy a package of dried pasilla chilis—they come about 6-8 in a package here. These are easy to find here in Texas, but I don’t know about elsewhere. I assume that there are now starting to be groceries with Mexican specialties more widely available.

Roast in the oven or toaster oven. Not long, a few minutes, until they puff up and are fragrant. Easy to leave in too long.

Let cool a little, then break open, let the seeds slide into the compost, and then tear into smaller bits and grind up in your coffee grinder. (Or save some to make coffee with, see next recipe.)

Put in a little jar with a nice label, and use as you would chili powder.

Ann’s spicy cinnamon coffee
I keep a bowl of roasted pasilla chilis on my counter (see previous recipe). Tear up about one-third to one-half chili, put into your coffee grinder (compost the seeds), add half a cinnamon stick, and then the coffee beans. Voila! (Or if you don’t grind your beans, just add chili powder and ground cinnamon, it’s still great.) I drink it with soy creamer, and I swear it tastes like chocolate. I’m having a cup right now—it’s so good!


No shoe for you! August 20, 2008

Filed under: Fashionista Files,Now Looky Here — rebmas03 @ 3:58 am
Tags: , , ,

I wonder if I’m the only person in the world who heard about the 65% off 65% sale at Bloomingdale’s at my favorite literary mall, Walt Whitman in Huntington Station, Long Island. Because I swear, I was the only person shopping there. It was like my own personal sale at my own personal mall. I guess my competition had tanning booth conflicts. And of course, nowhere did I do more damage than the shoe department. I’m not normally so rash, but who can resist those sort of prices. We’re talking Stuart Weitzman, Tori Burch, Michael Kors, Cole Haan….

Naturally, being freshly endowed with a bevy of designer shoes and newly graduated from my previous Nine West wardrobe, I needed to give my shoes the proper start for treading the rough Manhattan sidewalks. As every good shoe owner knows, taps are a must.

Normally, I would just go to the Russian guy over in the Clark Street station. He’s cheap and doesn’t give me any problems. But I don’t really trust him with the new cache. Shoes do have a way of disappearing at his hole-in-the-wall shop, and I just can’t risk that with this once-in-a-lifetime loot. So I load up my newly acquired treasure and head to the very high-maintenance and much more expensive shoe guy on Montague Street. This shoe guy is very, very discriminating. First off, cash up front. And it’s not cheap. That’s if he’ll even accept you. One gets the feeling that at any point, if he takes a sudden dislike to you and your shoes, it’s gonna turn out like the soup guy on Seinfeld. “No Shoe For You!” But I also know that if he accepts my shoes, they will get only the best care. It’s kind of like getting your kid into a good New York City private school.

Tonight, such rejection wasn’t even an option, for the expensive shoe guy also keeps summer hours and closes promptly. I was five minutes too late, burdened as I was with two full Bloomingdale’s Brown Bags, plus a box of ankle booties tucked under one arm. No shoe for me.

I realized with anguish that I would not only have to hike two long blocks to the cheap shoe guy, who may not even be open, but that I would also have to trust him with my new shoes. By the time I arrived, it was almost seven, but he was still open, barely. He’s no diva, but I could see that he was not happy to see me arrive with my 10 pairs. He looked my first pair, a delicately pointed black Stuart Weitzman pump, with complete disdain. “How much this shoe?” he asked. “$300,” I said. His eyes widened. “Well, I mean originally,” I amended, fearing that my shoes would disappear into the black market, “I paid $50.”

He looked at the other nine pairs lined up and his eyes narrowed. “You European?” “No, not at all!” (I am about as far from a European as it’s possible to get—I’m Midwestern.) “Why?” I ask. “They buy, come here, buy lots of shoes.” “No, I just found a very good sale, but don’t tell my husband.” That last directive completely confused him. Did the cheap shoe guy have a wife? Did he care how many shoes she bought?

From there we moved onto the treatment for each shoe. Now the expensive shoe guy doesn’t get involved, unless it’s a matter of shoe-repair principle (at which point, get ready to burn some cash).  But this guy had opinions. He wanted me to resole every shoe, insisting that the original, unprotected sole would wear down and I would also slip-slide dangerously around town. “I only wear these shoes once a month, at most,” I said. “I don’t need new soles.” But he would not back down, intuiting, no doubt, that I would sooner give in than have to carry these shoes back home. Finally we compromised on him resoling four pairs at $17/pair, adding taps to five at $6/pair and rejecting two entirely. And he insisted that I come back the next day, as he didn’t have room for all my shoes. I agreed and even had to pay in advance. So my question is, if my cheap shoe guy is turning diva and expensive on me, what does that mean for the high-maintenance shoe guy? It’s as if the whole shoe-repair world has gone out of balance, like when the frogs run out of gnats to eat and the whole eco-system upends.

As I packed up my rejected shoes to leave, the cheap shoe guy pulled out a plastic-wrapped bracelet from under the counter. “You like jewelry?,” he asked with a black-market leer.

Now I really do wonder if I’ll ever see my shoes again.


Don’t cry over broken china: Recycle it into jewelry! August 19, 2008

Did your heart break just like your favorite vase did when it slipped out of your hand and fell to the floor?  Has the handle broken off of that beautiful tea cup that your grandmother loved so many years ago?  Would you like to do something really special for your teenage daughter’s graduation—maybe something with that Beatrice Potter bowl that she used as a child?

Just give Marjorie a shout at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry Store.  She designs unique handcrafted jewelry using smoothed shards of beautifully decorated china, porcelain and ceramic, all intricately wire wrapped. You’ll find pendants, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings, rings and brooches.  For instance, here’s a pendant designed from a lovely Limoge plate:

Broken china Limoge pendant

Broken china Limoge pendant

Marjorie also crochets with wire, creating unusual and striking necklaces and bracelets that go so well with her broken china work, such as this lovely copper bracelet designed using Richard Ginori china from Italy.

Richard Ginori broken china crochet wire bracelet

Richard Ginori broken china crochet wire bracelet

To go along with her “cracked” theme, Marjorie now also includes sea glass and unusual broken shell jewelry in her repetoire.

Each piece is a one-of-a-kind creation—beautiful and affordable.  Choose something from her extensive inventory, or she will work with you to create a custom-designed piece.  Wearing Marjorie’s jewelry is like wearing a bit of history and is a totally “green” experience.


Vintage to Catwalk August 18, 2008

The Dark Romantic Trend

My mission is to bring vintage clothing a new lease of life. My aim: to find quality clothing that not only falls in line with current fashion trends but is accessible and affordable to all. You just require a little imagination and a copy of your latest fashion glossy to provide all the inspiration you need!

With that in mind, dear reader, I’ve decided to concentrate here on one of the key looks for autumn/winter 2008, that being the trend for all things dark and romantic. Catwalk shows everywhere have been full of sexy, seductive, gothic glamour, with lace, ruffles and bright red lipstick. Ahead of the game, as always, is the glorious Madonna, who is about to commence her “Sticky & Sweet” world tour with two outfits designed by the French fashion house Givenchy. Their runway shows translated into a desirable range from leather and PVC trousers to ruffles, high necklines and lace with large, statement jewellery pieces.

Just as a taster, here are three pieces chosen from a selection of vintage clothing, currently available from the Catwalk Creative on-line boutique. They fit in beautifully with the Gothic/Victoriana look that’s so hot right now. This is a look that everyone can achieve. Wear the lace blouse with skinny jeans or pencil skirt and a pair of booties, and the dresses with opaque tights and bold, oversized accessories. The wide shoulders of the vintage ’80s velvet dress would look wonderful teamed with a black cape or shrug. Oh, did I mention that Madonna’s due to wear a long, dramatic cape worn over one of her stage costumes for the upcoming tour? Now if it’s good enough for Madonna ……

Final note: as far as the makeup goes, think 1930s glamour with neo-bohemian dark, smouldering eyes, sharp cheekbones and bright red lips. It’s fabulous, darlings!


Beating Sewing Block August 17, 2008

Filed under: Goddess-Sanctioned Pastimes — rebmas03 @ 2:29 pm

I love to sew, no two ways about it. Sit me down at my machine in my studio in the early morning, and I just may emerge 16 hours later. I’ve been known to take a sewing vacation, where I leave my husband behind and head to the mountains and sew for a week straight. That’s just the way it is.

But this summer, it’s been a real challenge, and I haven’t been able to work on a project since late May. Part of this, I attribute to my getting my draping certificate at FIT and all the intense projects that went with it last semester. I talked to another friend in my draping program, who is a card-carrying ASG member, who said she was having the same issue. We were just burnt out. The final semester is like taking one Project Runway challenge and stretching it over 5 months. I have never been pushed through such sheer physical exhaustion and survived.

Plus in June, I changed jobs, which eliminated a 4-hour per day commute. You would think that this would free up all kinds of time for sewing, but instead I just slept a lot more. A LOT more (zzzzzzzzz).

On top of all this, my husband and I have been doing major, complete-gut construction all summer, and so every weekend as I hear of friends heading to the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard and points further, we are installing bathrooms, sheetrocking, putting in electric, doing complete landscaping overhauls, etc. All of my sewing is packed away in large plastic bins that I can’t bear to unpack yet. Of course at the end of this, I will have my own sewing room in my primary house for the first time ever, but that doesn’t much help my sewing in the mean time.

I suppose that for the average bear, to sew or not to sew would be neither here nor there. But sewing is my anti-anxiety balm. For me it’s not just a matter of pleasure (in fact, at times, sewing can be very painful), it’s a matter of sanity and survival. That time that I spend at the machine, I can turn off the world and focus on a project that, good or bad, is completely within my control. I love creating garments, and no sale or shopping spree, no matter how deep the discounts, will ever rival the fulfillment of amending my closet with the work of my own two hands.

Sometimes you just gotta get back on the horse and ride. So I’m happy to report that while all my planned summer sewing projects have lain fallow (goodbye metallic-linen, Katherine Hepburn safari suit and John Cheever-esque, maxi pool-party dress), I have been able to turn my focus to fall and a cadet blue velveteen coat. I found the project stuck back in a closet; it had somehow escaped the plastic bin. Cadet blue is one of my most favorite colors anyway, but it’s also super-hot this autumn. And maybe it’s not too late for that pool-party dress….


The Coolest Vintage Site

Filed under: Vintage, Recycled and Retro — rebmas03 @ 4:08 am
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I love, love vintage clothes, but I have issues with the search. I can’t tell you how many thrift stores where I’ve pored over piles of clothes, always looking for that perfect find, only to emerge with nothing. Then, there’s the other end of the spectrum, the specialty vintage stores that have the good stuff are pretty pricey. Enter Catwalk Creative, a U.K.-based vintage web site, whose tagline is “quality, fun and affordable vintage, retro and recycled clothes and accessories for the modern girl.” Run by the industrious and talented Louise Sleigh, she does more than just hawk vintage goods—she also offers advice on how to wear vintage and extensive pictures and descriptions. She’s like the perfect vintage shopping pal! Read all about Louise and Catwalk in this Fashion Birdcage interview.



For NYT Metropolitan Diary: Nanny Savvy August 16, 2008

Filed under: Now Looky Here — rebmas03 @ 2:36 am
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I work on the Upper West Side in Morningside Heights, and every day at lunch I take a brisk walk for exercise in and around Riverside Park. Part of my walk involves the alternate-side-of-the-street parking Olympics, which means walking six blocks down to the bridge where I just moved my car two hours earlier and relocating it to a newly open spot just outside my office building. Once my car is safely reparked, I usually head down the hill to Fairway Supermarket on 125th Street. Along the way I stop in one of the small parks and do some crunches and push ups on a bench. It’s my favorite sort of multi-tasking: car, food, exercise, all within one neat hour.

On this particular day, I was also talking to my sister on my cell. It was her birthday, and I was giving her a painstakingly detailed blow-by-blow of my day, something only a sister would listen to with any patience or interest. I stopped to do my crunches and push-ups and then headed on down the hill for my Fairway salad, all the time chatting with Sis. Get the salad and head back up the hill, through the park, past the nanny packs and on past my car toward the office. My arms are killing me because I’m loaded down—I can never go to Fairway without stocking up.

Suddenly I hear what sounds like my car alarm set off by the panic button. I pat my pockets for my keys. No KEYS. I quickly realize that if I don’t have my keys, and the alarm is sounding, someone ELSE does. I rush across Riverside Drive to my car, and the alarm stops just as I arrive. There’s no one there—no one around at all. The full implications hit me. Someone has MY KEYS to my car, and my house, and I am in deep, deep doo-doo. Plus, I’m late getting back from lunch, and I really don’t have time for this! Why, I wail to myself, why am I always getting myself into trouble like this?

In a panic, I start to retrace my steps. I speed-dial Fairway (as if that chaotic food circus could ever locate my keys under any circumstances) and simultaneously recall and turn toward the park where I did my crunches. I’m afraid to even go two steps from my car for fear that someone will leap out and steal it. At worst, I have a spare key upstairs in my purse. (I cannot take credit for this foresight—it all goes to my husband who would never, ever be in this sort of a pickle.) But if I leave, my car may disappear. And even if I do move my car to a parking lot, I will never, ever again be able to park in this neighborhood, and I will have to take the subway for the rest of my natural-born days.

I walk quickly, arms aching, to the bench where I was doing my crunches and see two nannies with their charges casually chatting. I rush up to them and ask breathlessly, “Did either of you see a set of….” My voice trails off as I see my keys sitting gingerly atop the park bench. One nanny volunteers: “We found the keys and kept pressing the panic button, hoping you would hear us.”

Now that’s a woman I want taking care of my child.


Do you want to write for Athena?

Filed under: Athena Wants You! — rebmas03 @ 1:50 am

Athena magazine is a fashion and lifestyle collective, and it belongs to every woman. If you have a hankering to write for Athena, drop an email to Amber at We’ll put out the welcome mat and send you the keys to the kingdom! Because fashion should be free, don’t you think?


A tale of good hair luck August 15, 2008

Filed under: Fashionista Files,Now Looky Here — rebmas03 @ 3:11 am
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It’s not easy to find a good hairdresser. I had one in the early ’90s named Adrian—he was also the stylist to Madonna. When Adrian cut my hair, his scissors just flew around my head in a blur, then stopped. There would be one lock of hair left long. Then, snip. And I had the perfect hairstyle. Shampoo, a little brilliantine and I was so sleek. I wore that hairstyle all through Australia, when I was working for BRIDE’s magazine. I got my dive certification on Lizard Island on that trip, and I still carry my dive card, just in case I need to do a quick James Bond-type move and also because I love to look at that hair cut.

Adrian disappeared, like all great hairdressers do, to Brazil, and I went through, no lie, 15 years of bad—or worse, mediocre—hair cuts and the search for another like Adrian. I can’t even bear to tell you the indignities I suffered, not to mention gray hairs, but finally I had the good fortune to end up working on a fashion shoot set with a couple of very style-savvy gals with amazing haircuts. And they assured me that all good haircuts happen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At this point I was the victim of brown hair and a ’90s severe bob given to me in Brooklyn Heights. It was humiliating.

But my hair luck finally turned and one day after I dropped my cat off for her acupuncture appointment at my Williamsburg vet, I stumbled upon Public. It was a hole in the wall really, but I decided to have faith in my fashion friends and take the plunge. I went inside and begged for a modern hair cut and color. Andy gave me the brilliant cut, and Laura did my color. She convinced me to go back to red, not auburn, RED! It was so amazing. I was chic again. But after a few visits, and a completely renovated life, things got complicated. Of course.

First Andy moved to the sister salon, Woodley and Bunny, also in Williamsburg. But Andy was never available, so I went to Ginger at Woodley instead, also awesome. But then Laura was never available also, so I found a colorist at Woodley. It was getting a little crazy anyway, getting my color at Public and my cut at Woodley. I had to alternate visits. But it was all like a cornucopia of Adrians—there wasn’t a mediocre stylist in the bunch.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, my 66-year-old mother came to visit from St. Louis. She also liked my haircut, so I took her to Woodley and Bunny to visit Ginger. She insisted that Ginger was the best hairstylist that she had found since 1965, so now she’s coming to visit every three months just to get her hair cut. (Plus Ginger’s vintage hotpants, platforms and mega-rhinestone glasses remind my mom of herself in the ’70s.) My sister even says she’s coming to have Ginger cut her hair. These people NEVER come to see me in NYC. I used to have to go see them, but now I have Ginger.

It gets even better. Today, I was at Woodley getting my weekly blowout, which I now have to get, because what good is fabulous cut and color without good styling, and who should I see? Laura! Promoted from her apprenticeship at Public to full status at Woodley. Now my cut and color (Ginger and Laura!) are all in the same place on the same night, which is a night that works with my schedule! Now that’s some good hair luck!